Phonetically IM-plausible

Shared Writing

Know your code. Know what they know. Know what is an exception*. If you know this, you’ll know when to ask the children for help and when to model.

I’m going to contextualise this blog post with Letters and Sounds Phase Two. I’ll explain how to systematically introduce the code in Phase Two Sets 1-5, then I’ll discuss how I’d lead a shared writing session in Reception. Spoiler: ‘phonetically plausible’ is implausible in the context of the more knowledgeable teacher modelling writing to students.

*Remember, an exception is simply a word with sound-spelling correspondence(s) that are beyond the systematic teaching sequence; exceptions are not words that ‘cannot be sounded out’. Exceptions are discussed in detail here and here.


Letters and Sounds Phase Two

Set 1: s a t p
Set 2: i n m d
Set 3: g o c k
Set 4: ck e u r
Set 5: h b f, ff l, ll

(Appendix 1: Letters and Sounds Phase Two sound-spelling correspondences)

During Phase Two, teachers systematically introduce the code in Sets 1-5 (appendix 1).

Set 1:
First introduce ‘a’ and ‘t’ to build, read and write ‘at’. Then bring in ‘s’ to build, read and write ‘sat’. Finally, introduce ‘p’ to build, read and write ‘pat’, ‘tap’ and ‘sap’.

Set 2:
Now that the children have learnt the Set 1 sound-spelling correspondences, you can introduce them to the first sound in Set 2: ‘i’. Then you can build, read and write ‘it’, ‘sit’, ‘pit’, ‘tip’, ‘pip’ and ‘sip’, and so begins the beautiful snowball of systematic phonics!

Sets 1-5
As you progress through Sets 1-5, children will learn to build, read and write CVC words (appendix 2) and polysyllabic words that follow the structure of CV|CVC or CVC|CVC (appendix 3).

High Frequency Words
Teachers should also introduce some High Frequency Words that have alternative pronunciations after initial sound-spelling correspondences have been taught (appendix 4). For example, after Phase 2 children know that the spelling ‘s’ can be the sound ‘s’ in words like ‘sat’ and ‘sip’; this is the appropriate time to introduce that the spelling ‘s’ can be the sound ‘z’ in words like ‘as’ and ‘is’. Once you introduce the spelling ‘h’ in Set 5, children can read ‘has’ and ‘his’.

Appendices

Phase Two CVC Words:

at, sat, pat, tap, sap, it, sit, pit, tip, pip, sip, an, in, nip, pan, pin, tin, tan, nap, am, man, mat, map, Pam, Tim, Sam, dad, sad, dim, dip, din, did, Sid, and, tag, gag, gip, gap, nag, sag, gas, pig, dig, got, on, not, pot, top, dog, pop, can, cot, cop, cap, cat, cod, kid, kit, Kim, Ken, kick, sock, sack, dock, pick, sick, pack, get, pet, ten, net, pen, peg, met, men, neck, up, mum, run, cup, sun, tuck, mud, rim, rip, ram, rat, rag, rug, rot, had, him, hot, hop, hum, hit, hat, hack, hug, but, big, back, bet, bad, bag, bed, bus, beg, bug, bun, bus, Ben, bat, bit, if, off, fit, fin, fun, fig, fog, puff, huff, cuff, fan, fat, lap, let, leg, lot, lit, bell, fill, doll, tell, sell, Bill, Nell, dull, less, hiss, mass, mess, boss, fuss, hiss, kiss, Tess

(Appendix 2: Letters and Sounds Phase Two cumulative CVC word list)

Polysyllabic Words (CV|CVC & CVC|CVC):

ti|cket, po|cket, sun|set, ro|cket, bu|cket, be|ckon, ra|bbit, lap|top, fuss|pot

(Appendix 3: Letters and Sounds Phase Two cumulative CVC word list)

Alternative pronunciations:

a, as, is, I, his, has, the, of, no, go, so, to, all, ball, tall, fall*
*this list is not exhaustive – see the first 100 and next 200 words sorted by sound.

(Appendix 4: High Frequency Words with alternative pronunciations)

Shared Writing after Letters and Sounds Phase Two

Are you with me so far? At the end of Letters and Sounds Phase Two, children can have the skills to segment and blend at the CVC level – this includes polysyllabic words with the CV|CVC or CVC|CVC structure). They’ve learnt the initial sound-spelling correspondences for: s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll. They know that a spelling can represent more than one sound (e.g. the spelling ‘s’ is ‘s’ in ‘sat’ and ‘z’ in ‘z’). They know that a sound can be spelled in more than one way (e.g. ‘k’ can be represented with ‘c’ in ‘can’, ‘k’ in ‘kid’ and ‘ck’ in ‘lick’. They know a lot. They also have a lot that they do not know…. But you do!

Shared Writing (child initiated)

Context:
You’ve been reading ‘I Want My Hat Back’ by Jon Klassen. The children know the text (and they won’t stop telling each other the story during free flow!). They’ve been learning about animals that you may find in the forest. They’ve been developing their pre-writing skills through object manipulating (scissors), hand and finger strength (tearing tissue paper) and hand division skills (picking up mini pom-poms) whilst making their own hats. They’re keen to write about their hats – which are a myriad of colours! So, how do you prepare them for their independent writing? Give them the code that is missing, of course.

Dialogue:
Teacher: Think about what your hat. What is your hat like? Tell your partner what your hat is like. My hat is…
Children (to their partners): My hat is red/blue/pink/red/big/small etc.
Teacher: I’m going to write some of the words that you used to describe your hats on the whiteboard. Smile at me if you’d like to tell me about your hat.
Child: My hat is red
Teacher: We know the spellings we need to write red! Say the sounds as I write ‘red’. (Children should ‘air write’ at the same time: they know the sound-spelling correspondences!)
Child: ‘r’ … ‘e’ … ‘d’
Teacher: Let’s check…
Child: ‘r’ … ‘e’ … ‘d’ … ‘red’
Child: My hat is small
Teacher: Small… let’s stretch that word out
Child: Sssssmmmmorrrrrrlllll
Teacher: Say the sounds as I write ‘small’
Child: ‘s’ … ‘m’ … ‘or’ … ‘l’
Teacher: What do you notice?
Child: That spelling *points to ‘a’* is usually ‘a’
Teacher: It can be ‘a’, but in this word it is ‘or’. Say ‘or’ here.
Children: ‘s’ … ‘m’ … ‘or’ … ‘l’ … ‘small’

Do you see? Just give them what they don’t know. It’s as easy as that. You can then leave these words on your whiteboard, or record them on a piece of flipchart to put on your working wall, and the children can use this in their independent writing.

Shared Writing a Sentence (…when you’ve already planned the outcome!)

Context:
Sometimes, we know roughly what we want the children to write. It can be very useful to plan sentences where children will know most of the code.

Character design. Vector illustration isolated on white background.

Dialogue:
Teacher:
Think about what you can see in this picture. Tell your partner what you can see. I can see…
Children (to their partners): I can see… a pig
Teacher: Smile if you’d like to tell me what you can see.
Child: I can see a pig
Teacher: What kind of pig is it? What does it look like? Tell your partner what the pig looks like. The pig is…
Children (to their partners): The pig is fat/tall/small/tiny/pink/happy…
Teacher: Smile if you’d like to tell me what kind of pig it is.
Child: The pig is fat
Child: The pig is tall
Child: The pig is pink
Child: The pig is happy
Teacher: What is this happy pig doing? Tell your partner what the happy pig is doing. The happy pig is…
Children (to their partners): The happy pig is dancing/singing/playing with his friends/playing…
Teacher: Smile if you’d like to tell me what the happy pig is doing.
Child: The happy pig is dancing
Child: The happy pig is singing
Child: The happy pig is playing with his friends
Child: The happy pig is playing
Teacher: The happy pig may be doing any of your suggestions, but let’s imagine he is dancing. Who can tell me our sentence?
Child: The happy pig is dancing
Teacher: Everybody, tell your partner our sentence.
Children (to their partners): The happy pig is dancing
Teacher: Let’s count the words in our sentence. (Model counting starting with the thumb, then index finger… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 whilst everybody says…)
Children: The happy pig is dancing.
Teacher: What do we need to remember at the start of a sentence? Smile at me if you’d like to tell the class.
Child: We need to start a sentence with a capital letter.
Teacher: That’s right. What’s the first word in our sentence?
Children: the
Teacher: Can you say the sounds to help me write ‘the’?
Children: ‘th’ … ‘u’
Teacher: Let’s check…
Children: ‘th’ … ‘u’ … ‘the’
Teacher: The. Now I need a finger space. What is our next word?
Children: Happy
Teacher: Let’s tap the syllables in happy
Children: ‘ha … ppy’
Teacher: Can you say the sounds to help me write ‘ha’?
Children: ‘h’ … ‘a’
Teacher: Let’s check…
Children: ‘h … a … ha’
Teacher: Can you say the sounds to help me write ‘ppy’?
Children: ‘p … ee’
Teacher: What do you notice about the way we spell ‘p’ in ‘happy’?
Child: It’s two letters one sound
Children: It’s two letters one sound
Teacher: In this word I spell ‘ee’ like this – y. What sound is this?
Children: ee
Teacher: Let’s check…
Children: ‘h…a… ha… p… ee… ppy… ha… ppy… happy’
Teacher: Let’s read what we’ve written so far
Children: ‘The’ ‘happy’
Teacher: The happy. Now I need a finger space. What is our next word?
Children: pig
Teacher: Can you say the sounds to help me write ‘pig’?
Children: ‘p’ … ‘i’ … ‘g’
Teacher: Let’s check…
Children: ‘p’ … ‘i’ … ‘g’ … ‘pig’
Teacher: Let’s read what we’ve written so far
Children: ‘The’ ‘happy’ ‘pig’
Teacher: The happy pig. Now I need a finger space. What is our next word?
Children: is
Teacher: Can you say the sounds to help me write ‘is’?
Children: ‘i’ … ‘z’
Teacher: *Writes ‘is’*. What does this spell in this word?
Child: In ‘is’ that is the sound ‘z’.
Teacher: That’s right, in some words it can be ‘s’ and in others it can be ‘z’. Let’s check…
Children: ‘i’ … ‘z’ … ‘is’
Teacher: Let’s read what we’ve written so far
Children: ‘The’ ‘happy’ ‘pig’ ‘is’
Teacher: The happy pig is. Now I need a finger space. What is our next word?
Children: dancing
Teacher: Let’s tap the syllables in ‘dancing’
Children: ‘dan … cing’
Teacher: Can you say the sounds to help me write ‘dan’?
Children: ‘d’ … ‘ar’ … ‘n’
Teacher: What do you notice?
Child: That letter is usually ‘a’ but in ‘dancing’ it is ‘ar’.
Teacher: That’s right. In this word, this is ‘ar’. Let’s check that syllable…
Children: ‘d … ar … n … dan’
Teacher: Can you say the sounds to help me write ‘cing’?
Children: ‘s … i … ng’
Teacher: What do you notice?
Child: That spelling can be ‘k’ but in this word it is ‘s’.
Teacher: That’s right. In this word, this is ‘s’. This *underline ng* is how we write ‘ng’. What do you notice?
Child: It’s two letters one sound
Children: It’s two letters one sound
Teacher: Let’s say the sounds and read that syllable
Children: ‘s’ … ‘i’ … ‘ng’ … ‘cing’
Teacher: Let’s check…
Children: ‘d… ar… n… dan… s… i… ng… sing… dan… sing… dancing’
Teacher: Let’s read what we’ve written so far
Children: ‘The’ ‘happy’ ‘pig’ ‘is’ ‘dancing’
Teacher: The happy pig is dancing. Which stop mark do I need?
Children: A full stop
Teacher: Let’s read our sentence
Children: The happy pig is dancing.


What’s the message? At the end of a phase, unit, set etc. (depending on your phonics programme…) the children will know a lot.  However, in the Early Years there will be words that the children want to write that go beyond the phonic code that they have been introduced to systematically: approach this incidentally! You know the code, so simply tell them the part(s) that they haven’t learnt (yet).

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